LADYFERN

Athyrium filix-femina

Ladyfern, Athyrium filix-femina offers a fantastic three-season interest. Its lacy, elegant, textured fronds are at their most vibrant and dynamic green  in the spring when fiddleheads — some think tasty salads — appear to provide food for many beneficial insects and shelter for birds and mammals. Ladyferns are placed in the small shrub and ferns vegetation layer. They are easy to establish in the spring or fall, avoiding the summer’s dry months. If you have a shaded area you want to fill in look no further. In the fall the color changes to golden yellow after the first frost.

Medicinal uses include a tea of the boiled stems to relieve labor pains. The young unfurled fronds have been eaten to treat internal ailments such as cancer of the womb. The roots are anthelmintic and diuretic. A tea of the boiled roots has been used to treat general body pains, to stop breast pains caused by childbirth and to induce milk flow in caked breasts. The dried powdered root has been applied externally to heal sores. A liquid extract of the root is an effective anthelmintic, though it is less powerful than the male fern, Dryopteris felix-mas.

SPECS: Genus: Athyrium ; Species: Filix-femina; Plant Type: Fern; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Shade, Part Shade; Soil Moisture: Medium Wet, Well Drained; Height: 2′ — 3′; Spread: 3′; Plant Spacing: 2′ — 3′; Bloom Time: June — August; Bloom Color: Gold, Green, Orange, Yellow; Advantages: Birds, Low maintenance, Medicinal uses, Pollinators, Privacy screen; USDA Zone: 3 — 8; Attracts: Beneficial insects, Songbirds; Tolerant: Clay, Deer, Drought, Erosion, Heat & humidity, Rabbits, Shade; Plant Community: Companion plants: Silvery spleenwort, evergreen wood fern, spinulose wood fern, sedge, maidenhair fern, wild geranium, bloodroot, trillium & bellwort.;